Colonel Christopher Mason heads the State Police, and said staffing at the agency is reaching a "critical staffing shortage." Mason said 46 troopers had to be pulled off of investigative units like homicide, arson and counter-terrorism this summer because there simply aren't enough officers to patrol the state's roadways.
Union heads agreed with Mason's outlook.
"They know when they come in for their eight-and-a-half hour shift, they're not going home at the eight-and-a-half-hour mark, because they're being forced into the next shift," said Sergeant Michael Cherven, who leads the State Police Association of Massachusetts. Cherven said some officers are working 17-hour days, and the hours are taking a mental toll.
Part of the problem is the small class-size of State Police trainees, which Cherven said would need more funding from the state to keep track with the agency's heavy personnel losses.
Cherven said the municipal departments in places like Boston are more attractive landing spots for police officers, because they pay up to 25% more without the possibility of being transferred to more rural areas in Western and Central Massachusetts.
The officials didn't comment on the exact reasons for the staff attrition, but they mirror declining police staffing trends across the nation.
WBZ's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) has more: